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The 6 Best Neck Massagers for At-Home Pain Relief

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best neck massagers

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Holding up our heads is a tough job for our necks. Add in the strain it goes through with exercise or the weird angles we sleep in, and it’s no wonder we suffer from neck and shoulder pain. Thankfully, there are a number of at-home solutions to alleviate the common stress our necks endure. Neck massagers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Physical therapist and Men’s Health advisor Daniel Giordano recommends percussive therapy massagers and guns, and massagers that wrap around your neck.

“This is all temporary relief to increase blood flow circulation, increase your range of motion, and allow more relaxation in the area,” Giordano says. In other words, you can’t just rely on massagers to keep your neck comfortable; if you want to avoid neck pain, you’ll want to manage its causes, too. (Check your work setup, take breaks, and see a professional if it’s getting in the way of your life.)



  • Best Overall Neck Massager

    Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Soothing Heat
    InvoSpa

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  • Best Massage Gun

    Theragun Prime
    Therabody

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  • Best Neck Massager for Travel

    Neck3 Pro Electric Neck Massager
    Breo

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  • Best Portable Neck Massager

    Theragun Mini
    Therabody

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  • Best Lightweight Neck Massager

    Hypervolt Go 2
    Hyperice

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Read More: Best Massage Guns

With the different types of massagers and massage guns out there, it’s important to know how to use them. For massage guns, Giordano suggests using a lighter, gentler gun, or at least starting on lower settings before increasing. You may also need someone else to hold the tool and use it on certain parts of your back. He says there’s no need to get aggressive, no matter how frustrating the pain is. “Let the gun do the work. Do not dig. Float the gun on the surface and let it do the work,” Giordano says.

Massage pillows are only meant to be used as directed (yes, you actually need to read the instructions)—don’t use them toward the front of the neck. And for those hard-to-reach places like the mid-back, Giordano says a massage ball can also be helpful.

Which tool is best for your pain? Here are 6 neck massagers and guns we recommend.

Best Overall Neck Massager

Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Soothing Heat

  • Hands-free design
  • 3 speed settings
  • Can be used at home or in the car

InvoSpa uses infrared to increase blood flow to your stiff neck muscles in addition to vibrating. And the handle design ensures you’re not putting too much pressure on your neck.

While using the product, InvoSpa says to place a cloth or fabric between your skin and the product.

Best Massage Gun

Theragun Prime

  • Comes with 4 attachment heads
  • Customizable speed range
  • Smart app integration available

Men’s Health advisor Daniel Giordano recommends a Theragun because of its signature handle, which makes it easier to direct the device toward the pain. Plus, the quality material used for the product is top-notch. Giordano says it’s better than massagers that come with plastic heads. “It’s a polyurethane foam, which is an anti-microbial foam that has a softer head,” he says.

The company advises users to keep the massager away from water and use it only as instructed. If the device malfunctions, don’t try to fix it yourself.

Best Neck Massager for Travel

Neck3 Pro Electric Neck Massager

  • Hands-free design
  • Customizable settings via smartphone app
  • Heated setting available

Shiatsu massage pillows can bring relief to the back of your neck without any need to manually direct the massager. The balls inside do all the work. Use the pillows only as intended—don’t try to use them on the front of your neck.

Best Portable Neck Massager

Theragun Mini

  • Fits into nearly every bag and even large jacket pockets
  • Easy to hold and simple to use
  • Not as strong of a massage as other options

Therabody’s super portable, mini massager is perfect for those who need a little pain relief on the go, whether it’s at the gym or while they’re traveling. This thing is smaller than you’d guess, comes with its own carrying case, and three settings to choose from. Plus, it’s quiet, so you won’t have to worry about disrupting your day with the vibrating noises as you use it against your neck.

Best Lightweight Neck Massager

Hypervolt Go 2

  • Lightweight
  • 2 head attachments included
  • Battery lasts three hours

Hyperice’s small handheld therapy gun is quiet and lightweight at 1.5 pounds. The gun comes in three settings and will last up to three hours on one charge. We’re also fans of the ergonomic design, which will help those who aren’t as flexible to reach the targeted areas on their neck even more easily.

Best Vibrating Massage Ball

Hypersphere

  • Small and portable
  • Lasts up to 2 hours
  • 3 speeds to choose from
  • Not the best for outdoor settings

This massage ball is perfect for localized pain in hard-to-reach places like the mid and upper back. You can use the product against a wall or while lying on the floor. If you live solo, this is a great tool; it can be hard to use a gun-type massager on your own back.

How to Use a Neck Massager

To avoid injury while using a massager, Giordano says to stick to the muscles in the back of your neck (especially avoid massaging right on the jugular vein on the side of the neck). And avoid massaging directly over bones, especially your vertebrae. Massaging the area around the vertebrae is fine, but stay away from anything that’s not muscle.

Immediately stop using a neck massager if you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Also, seek out a medical professional if the neck pain you have isn’t dissipating. If you have shooting pains, numbness or pain that moves around the body (for instance, if it moves to the hands and arms), you should not use a neck massager. Massagers are only for temporary relief, and shouldn’t increase your discomfort in any way or substitute for a doctor’s visit.

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